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Pattani Calling

Tech Tales-Pattani Calling_Study 2


Vijitra Duangdee





Digital Rights Issue

Online Surveillance, Biometrics


From a mosque after prayers, the protagonist explains the cost of being cut-off from modern communications in the insurgency-riddled ‘deep south’ of Thailand.

He has to make long drives through dangerous roads to meet people in person or to use a landline to check-in on his wife and son at home.

His disconnection is self-imposed but necessary: he refuses to register his biodata to get a SIM card as ordered by the Thai state.

The government says it is a necessary security measure covering the Malay Muslim-majority southernmost provinces. It says this is where militants fighting a grinding insurgency against Bangkok use burner phones to detonate their roadside bombs.

Muslim locals say it is just the latest tool of Thai security services to creep into their lives: harvesting biodata in a new layer of mass surveillance in a region where appearing on state registers often result to miscarriages of justice.

‘Pattani Calling’ is a story of a community being forced by state digital policies into exile from modern communication. It is also a tale of defiance and resourcefulness by people staying connected when the state refuses to give them SIM cards.

About the Director

Vijitra Duangdee is a Thailand-based producer/reporter. She worked as a reporter and presenter on Thai TV andr Reuters’ TV in Hong Kong, and as a stringer and reporter for AFP news agency, South China Morning Post (SCMP) and Voice of America (VOA). She also produced and directed short films (SCMP Films) about one of Thailand’s richest people as well as about a brilliant, transgender campaigner -to reflecting modern Thai society and the issues impacting in Thailand.

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